Haiti Quake a ‘Game Changer’ for Corporate Philanthropy

Leading aid agency expects to see greater corporate involvement in future disaster responses

SEATTLE, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As Haiti marks nearly eight months since its devastating earthquake and Chile sees the six-month mark since its own destructive quake, international aid agency World Vision has seen a notable increase in both corporate donations and level of involvement and interest in disaster relief from companies in a broad range of industries.

“Haiti was a catalyst for American companies to look at broader and deeper ways they could partner with aid groups that are on the front lines. Now, with companies like P&G and Verizon contributing to the Pakistan flood response, we’re continuing to see this trend,” explained David Owens, vice president of corporate development for World Vision.

“While we had indisputably one of the most generous set of corporate partners before the Haiti quake, we’ve been humbled by the overwhelming corporate response in the past nearly eight months,” Owens continued. “And with the current hurricane season kicking into high gear, we realize there’s a greater demand for charitable partnerships that can serve an enterprise in all the ways it may want to give back—from employee initiatives to corporate foundations to product donations to relevant expertise it can share.”

Verizon’s financial support for Haiti came through a variety of areas including grants from the Verizon Foundation and a program to match employee contributions dollar-for-dollar. The company also created a Haiti donation micro site where its customers could contribute online to relief agencies’ responses.

Best Western International invited its guests to donate reward points from the hotel chain’s loyalty program to help survivors of the Chile quake. The company notified customers by email and on its website of the opportunity, which complements the company’s ongoing campaign that invites both guests and hotel employees to sponsor children in need through World Vision.

JPMorgan Chase, Symantec and Johnson & Johnson provided their staff with a hands-on way to give back, by partnering with World Vision to assemble relief kits for delivery to Haiti. Overall, World Vision’s corporate partners have assembled 25,000 kits since October for use in disaster zones and other high-need areas around the world.

The Salesforce.com Foundation responded to Haiti based on the company’s 1/1/1 integrated corporate philanthropy model, where 1% of the company’s time, 1% of its equity and 1% of its products are given forward to the community. Salesforce.com leveraged its website to World Vision’s relief effort by providing its customers a link where they could make online donations and encouraged other corporations to make their own contributions. In addition, salesforce.com matched all donations dollar-for-dollar to World Vision’s response and used Twitter to spread the word. Further, salesforce.com employees mobilized and assembled more than 500 emergency relief kits for Haitian earthquake survivors.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) has also recently noticed a similar trend of increased business involvement in disaster response and global development, particularly since Haiti’s January quake. “We have seen that Haiti rebuilding is a catalyst for corporations to offer both financial support as well as sector expertise,” explained Stephen Jordan, BCLC’s Executive Director.

In addition, the BCLC together with Executives without Borders is establishing a Haiti Business Corps. The pilot project aims to make it easier for companies to effectively leverage their talent and expertise in the delivery of social good to Haiti.

“I’m grateful to all our corporate partners who have given so generously in this extraordinary year of disasters. But I’m also confident that in future global emergencies, the corporate sector will continue to leverage their influence and stakeholders in ways that make a bigger overall difference,” explained Keith Kall, World Vision’s executive director for global partnerships.

Given Haiti’s high rate of poverty and the massive loss of infrastructure and human capital, this earthquake has proven to be one of the most difficult disaster responses in recent memory. While working to scale up construction of transitional shelters, World Vision is also beginning to implement more sustainable large-scale programs in the areas of livelihoods, water and sanitation, health and education. To learn more about World Vision’s work in Haiti, please read our 6-month report at http://www.worldvision.org/resources.nsf/main/press-haiti/$file/Haitisix.pdf or call 1-888-56-CHILD (1-888-562-4453).

Corporations may contact World Vision at 1.800.642.1616 or visit http://www.worldvision.org/gik

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tacking the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press


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